Sweden expects up to 190,000 asylum seekers this year

AFP , Thursday 22 Oct 2015

Coatian police officers stand guard by the fence as migrants wait to enter into Croatia from Serbia, near the village of Babska, Croatia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Sweden expects to receive up to 190,000 asylum applications this year, straining the country's reception capacity with no housing available for up to 45,000 of the recent arrivals, migration authorities said on Thursday.

Sweden, a country of 9.8 million, is known for its generous asylum policy and welfare state, and is a preferred destination for refugees. It is among the EU states with the highest proportion of refugees per capita.

According to the Migration Agency's forecast, between 140,000 and 190,000 asylum applications are expected this year, and of those, between 29,000 and 40,000 are unaccompanied minors.

For 2016, the country expects between 100,000 och 170,000 asylum seekers, including 16,000 to 33,000 unaccompanied minors.

The Migration Agency added however that the situation remains uncertain and that the numbers could shift.

"The EU's and individual member states' actions will play a decisive role in how many asylum seekers come to Sweden in the future," Migration Agency analyst Merjem Maslo said in a statement.

In 2014, around 81,000 people sought asylum in Sweden, although only 36,000 were granted the status.

So far in 2015, more than 100,000 have applied for asylum, the Migration Agency said.

The government recently authorised the Migration Agency to erect heated tents if no other housing is available.

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